Thursday, February 26, 2009

Alice and the bad day

Alice woke up (early) this morning cranky, and things went downhill from there. Every time I tried to put her down for her nap, she would wake up screaming. Every time I put her down to play, she would scream. By 10:45, she collapsed in my arms and slept for a whopping 15 minutes against my chest. Poor thing was so tired, she could hardly hold her head up, but she refused to fall asleep. She has some sort of bug - snot flows from her nose. Look at the bags under her eyes.
I am ready for this day to be over.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

cracking the system

I might have mentioned: I have absolutely no control over my daughter's sleep. She sleeps when she wants for how ever long she wants, and that is only if I make sure that she is clean, fed, sung to, and snuggled in her bed. God forbid, we should be out and about when she decides it is time to sleep. She'll either sleep for five minutes in the car and refuse to take a nap for the rest of the day - or she will fuss until I manage to drop everything, rush home, and put her down.

I have, however, figured out a sure-fire way to get her to sleep for a long period of time. It's simple, really. I don't know why I didn't think of it before. All I have to do to ensure that Alice sleeps for longer than 2 hours, is: MAKE PLANS! That's it. She could have been consistently sleeping from 10am-11am all week, but the moment I make plans to get lunch at noon, she sleeps until 1pm. If we have a doctor's appointment at 1pm, she won't take a morning nap just so that she can go to sleep at 12:30.

My child is some sort of genius. She is slowly training me to give up any semblance of a life that I have to cater to her every whim. The funny part about all this is - I don't mind. She flashes me her gummy smile - gives me a little "mommy giggle" (the giggle she saves just for me when I get home from work), and I'd do anything that she wants.

I know this will be problematic when she gets older and needs things like - limits, rules...etc... - but right now, I'm perfectly content making plans that sound something like, "I'd love to get lunch. Why don't I call you between 10:30am and 3pm when Alice wakes up from her morning nap, and we'll rush out to the nearest restaurant to eat before she decides its time for her afternoon nap."

This might be the reason I'm losing touch with all my childless friends.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Alice 1, Mommy 0

Dearest Alice,

You win. I admit it. I don't know what I was thinking trying to spend time with friends after your bedtime at Alissa's house. I thought you would go right to sleep in the nice bed that I had brought with me. I thought you would enjoy the attention of all my childless friends, and I thought you would have no problem driving home after midnight and falling asleep in your own bed. I really was out of my mind.

I should have realized that this was never going to work when you fell asleep in the car at 6:30 on the way there. Of course you had no desire to go to sleep at your normal bedtime after that nap, so right away we were off to a bad start. When I finally did decide to put you down, you let me know - in no uncertain terms - that you were not happy about going to sleep in this strange place at this strange time.

Waking you up at midnight was probably not the smartest thing to do either, but we had to go home at some point - I'm pretty sure Alissa wanted her room back. You had every right to cry all the way home. If someone woke me up in the middle of the night and drove me around for half an hour, I would cry too.

I don't blame you for taking a long time to fall asleep when we got home, but did you need to wake up three hours later and stay awake until I nursed you (even though you couldn't possibly have been hungry after only three hours of sleep)? Did you really need to nurse for two and a half hours? I know you have the remarkable ability to nurse and sleep, but mommy is not equipped with this option.

I understand now. Your naps and night sleep are precarious at best. I vow to honor your variable sleep. I will not take you over to my friend's house late at night. I will strive to always be home and ready to put you down for your nap whenever you decide it is time. I will give up a semblance of my own life to cater to your sleep, and all I ask in return is that you give me 5 hours of sleep in a row at night. Please...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A letter to the love of my life on Valentines Day

I know that over the past 8 months I've spent most of my time and energy focused on Alice. I know that I haven't always told you how wonderful I think you are, or how much I appreciate the love and devotion you have for our family. And I know that Valentines Day is a day designed to boost the restaurant and greeting card industries, but that is OK with me, because it is also a day to remind me to tell those people that mean so much to me just how much I love them.

My life could not work without you. I know you work so hard so that you can spend time with us, and I love that about you. I love that you drop everything to make Alice laugh, that you sing and dance in public. I love that your nose is crooked and that you add peanut butter and BBQ sauce to almost everything. I love that you play with me and are willing to talk whenever I need it. That you listen to me without judgment and that you are always up for trying something new.

There are too many things that I love about you to list, and I'm sorry for the cheesy note and that I don't tell you enough. You are an amazing person, and I feel lucky to be a part of your life.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Alice's first love

I have what is probably the sweetest, most easy-going cat in the world. His name is Thor and he loves attention more than breathing. Literally. He would allow himself to be smothered if it meant that he could get a little love. Luckily for him, Alice LOVES him. If its a choice between her parents and Thor, she'll run to Thor every time.

Thor can't decide if he wants Alice to get close to him or not. On the one hand, he loves the attention, but, on the other hand, the attention that she gives him is slightly...painful. This indecision on his part results in a dance around the house that looks something like this:

First Alice approaches Thor (she has gotten so good at crawling).
He sees her and thinks, "oh, she's coming over her to give me some love!" so he stays put.Then she goes for the tail - because, lets be honest, it is the most interesting part of a cat. It moves so quickly and it is so soft.Thor thinks to himself, "This is annoying, but I do so love any attention that I can get, so I think I'll hang out and see what happens." This is when the baby attack occurs.
So Thor gives up and runs away. But he doesn't run far away. He wants the pain to stop, but he wants to stay close by in case more love is on the way. The baby gate has provided him with a small measure of safety. This makes Alice sad and slightly surprised.
Fear not little one. Thor loves you too and quickly returns for more.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Bumps and teeth

Sometimes Alice does things that are so sweet it makes me want to cry. Like the hugs she gives me in the morning when I pick her up, or the way she buries her head in my neck when she is sleepy. Recently, she had two major milestones that she handled with the grace and courage of a baby twice her age.

Yesterday, Alice pulled herself up to a standing position without any help from me at all! It was so exciting. I took lots of pictures and got this great series of photos where she is standing and then falling down. Unfortunately, my computer ate them so the only way to see these photos is to visit my husband's blog. He stole my photos and posted them as if HE were the one to catch this momentous occasion on film! Now you know the truth.

This standing thing was so exciting, but she really doesn't quite have the hang of it yet. She tends to try to stand with her feet really far away from the object that she is pulling herself up with.

This stance causes her to place all of her weight on her hands which means that if her hands slip, she ends up with a face plant on the object that she is leaning against. This is not a problem if the object is something like a couch, but it becomes more dangerous when the object is our very sharp, awful coffee table (I never though I could have such negative feelings towards a coffee table). Alice was pulling herself up against said table and face planted directly into the edge of it. A huge welt rose on her perfect little cheek, but the part that made me really want to cry was that she only cried for a minute and then was ready to try again. Its so sweet and courageous, it breaks my heart.

If it were me, I would pout for hours and constantly point to the offended area looking for sympathy anyway I could get it. My daughter is officially braver than I am.

No sooner did she learn to stand then she was on to climbing. Nothing is safe.

As if this painful experience wasn't enough, Alice has had the unfortunate experience of cutting her first tooth. Now, when other babies get teeth, they scream and cry and moan all day and night. Not Alice. This tooth grew in without so much as a peep. Yesterday she was all gums and this morning, there was a little jagged edge on the front bottom right of her mouth.

This is a picutre of her tounge.

Here is another picture of her tounge.

I am posting these so you realize that I tried desperately to take a pictue of the little guy, but I think he's camera shy, so I am posting picures of her mouth instead. I took about 30 picutres of tounge and lips before I gave up.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Reading memories

Books are very important in our family. I try to read out loud to SDN every night and I always to Alice before I put her down to sleep. One of the reasons I do this is because it is what a "good" parent does, but the more important reason is that I truly love books and reading.

Ever since I was a little kid, I've loved to lose myself in a story. My father used to call me on his way home from work and ask me what Baby-Sitters Club book or Sweet Valley High book I needed next in the series so that he could pick it up for me.

One of my favorite memories of my grandmother centers around a book. I think I was in 5th grade and, I had managed to tear all the skin off booth my shins in a weird somersault over a brick wall sort of thing. It was the worst injury that I could remember having, and my parents were appropriately sympathetic. My wounds were dressed and I was bundled up on the couch. My grand-mother came over and sat all day long by my side reading some chapter book from beginning to end. It was the first time I had had the sheer pleasure of listening to an entire book. Her voice must have been hurting, but she never stopped reading, and I got to lose myself in this wonderful story with her.

I want Alice to experience that feeling. I want to read her books when she is sick and travel with her to places only she can imagine.